Infantino, Yamashita and Haggerty become IOC members

The International Olympic Committee session in Lausanne, Switzerland in January 2020. Photo: OIS/Joe Toth. Handout image supplied by OIS/IOC.

Fifa president Gianni Infantino, Japanese Olympic Committee president Yasuhiro Yamashita and International Tennis Federation chief David Haggerty have been elected as members of the International Olympic Committee.

The appointments were made at last Friday’s IOC session in Lausanne.

Japan Today reported that Infantino’s election ended a five-year spell in which there was no football official on the IOC. Historically, Fifa presidents have been IOC members. Former Fifa president Sepp Blatter was the last such representative, stepping down in 2015.

Infantino was elected in a vote in which 63 were in favour of his appointment and 13 against. He’s the second current Japanese IOC member alongside International Gymnastics Federation president Morinari Watanabe.

Yasuhiro Yamashita won a gold medal in judo for Japan at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. He received 74 votes in favour of his election, one against, and there were three absentions.

The Japan Times reported that Yamashita said: “I’m feeling a heavy weight of responsibility. It’s important that I do what leads to the development of the Olympic movement.

“To be honest I’m surprised (with the number of votes won). I think it’s not how they see me, but how they see the trust level of Japan. I’m not sure if I’m worthy of becoming an IOC member. I have a lot to work on, starting with language skills. I’ll study hard in order to fulfil my duty.”

He added: “Sports can contribute to a society that is sustainable and inclusive, and free from discrimination. I want to keep this vision close to my heart.”

The Tennis World USA website reported that, commenting on his appointment, Haggerty said: “It is a great privilege to become an IOC member, I am truly honoured. As I said when nominated, this is an acknowledgement of the ITF Board, Committees, Regional and National Associations, and staff who work tirelessly to grow the game.

“I look forward to working with all other members to represent and promote the Olympic values and to continue the long and meaningful relationship between tennis and the Olympic and Paralympic movement.”

Haggerty also currently serves on the IOC Athletes Entourage Commission, which advises the IOC on the relationships between athletes and those working with them, including parents, coaches, managers, technical officials, sponsors and media.

In a press release announcing the appointments, the IOC said the new members’ candidatures had been studied and approved by the IOC Members Election Commission and the IOC Ethics Commission, in line with the organisation’s Agenda 2020 reforms.

IOC members are elected for eight-year terms. The total number of IOC members is now 101.